Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Seeing The Rascal Inside

"Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one less rascal in the world." (Thomas Carlyle)

These thoughts have been strong in my mind the last few days, spurred by a short talk that I heard at class Friday night.  I've been coming to these classes for 6 years now, and the things that I have learned from what we're taught here by Guy Finley, the director of this school, have both challenged me and changed my life.

One of the fundamental things we are taught is the importance of self-knowledge:  of being present to ourselves and aware of the thoughts and feelings that are passing through us and often driving what we do.  To be present requires a degree of detachment on our part ("See the state - don't be the state").  But most importantly, it requires honesty.  Being present challenges us to be willing to clearly and unflinchingly see things about ourselves that we don't want to see.  Only then, can we change.

"Honesty is the path to self-knowledge.  No honesty, no self-knowledge." (GF)

As part of a short talk on Friday night, Guy said the following:  "The sleeping mind has no interest in awakening."  And that spurred me to see the following things as well.

  • The sleeping mind has no interest in awakening.
  • The agitated mind has no interest in being still.
  • The nature that thinks "It knows it all" has no interest in learning.
  • The nature that lives to "solve problems" and "Be heroic" cannot imagine a life without fear or burdens, and wouldn't know what "to do" in such a world.
  • The mind that is satisfied with an imagined Life: "safe, predictable, and limited" - where it always knows itself - has no interest in real Life, which offers discovery only through taking risks, being willing to be empty, and testing one's limits.
  • The mind that believes that Growth and Change is possible simply by THINKING about it - but not DOING anything new - has no interest in hearing that it is deceiving itself and is wasting its time.
  • The nature that whispers "There'll always be time tomorrow to do what you need to do" has no interest in me realizing that the only one who gains from the delay is not me, but the nature that never wanted to change in the first place.
It's sobering to write these observations down and realize that they all can be found inside of me:  silently and successfully lobbying me to just "go along with them" for so long.

"Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom" (Thomas Jefferson)

But that's why I wanted to write them down - to do my best to expose them.  Change can only occur if I'm willing to see what needs to be changed - and see the need for change.  Too often in my life, I've avoided seeing what I didn't want to see:  about myself, about my family, about the world in general.

But that's a rascal's life: always running, always pretending, always scrambling.  Fortunately, Life in its infinite wisdom, always persists in offering chances to see that there's so much more we're meant to experience; if we're willing to be honest, and if we're willing to work - to do something different.

So that's my intention, and I'm sure I'll need to be reminded of that.  That's why I sat and wrote this - a little honest "letter" to myself... from a genuine friend... the Truth.

It's been rewarding to put these thoughts down in front of me... now I want to put them to use, and turn them into real "pearls"....

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